After the school vote ….

How much guts will town council members have? That’s the pertinent question today in the aftermath of a record number of defeated school budgets …

In every town where a budget lost, it will be the governing body’s job to recommend cuts. And today, the governor offered some help, He suggested that councils figure out the cost of a teacher wage increase next year and cut budgets by that amount. Keep in mind that school boards did not have to take advice from the council; they can implement cuts anyway they like ..

Still, a council demanding, in effect, a wage freeze for teachers will make a statement. But will councils want to push things that far?

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About fsnowflack
Fred Snowflack was editorial page editor and a political columnist for the Daily Record of Morristown for almost 12 years. He has won numerous awards for editorial and column writing from the New Jersey Press Association and has written a blog on county and state politics for the last three years. He lives in Ledgewood in Morris County.

21 Responses to After the school vote ….

  1. hfa says:

    I think it is time to change the law. the present process will not work. THe local governing body can not be specific about what gets cut. It can only reduce the budget number, then of course the school board can appeal to the State.

  2. Kevin Nedd says:

    By law the governing bodies are REQUIRED by law to specify the specific line items they recommend be cut in a school budget. These line items and the associated amounts must be specified by ordinance. BOEs are required to accept the dollar amount, but are not required to follow the line item recommendations and can chose to cut other items as long as the dollar amount is met.

    So with this understanding, our idiot Governor’s suggestion is disingenuous given BOEs cannot unilaterally impose his suggestion (even if it is recommended by a governing body) if an existing contract is already in place.

  3. daily crap says:

    The council should cut $1.5M but knowing those pansies they will cut their normal 1/2 M. Their cut recommendations should be the following:
    1 of the 2 Assistant Superintendents, 2 of the 4 supervisors, 2 of the 4 Assistant Principals at the HS and all lead teachers. By the way they should also get rid of that moron – Rossi!!!

  4. P says:

    First, the governor employed a brilliant strategy in making the school budget votes about his fight with the NJEA, and he won – Big Time.

    Now, he’s come up with another brilliant strategy – Most borough councils don’t have a clue how to handle failed budgets (witness the fumbling and bumbling in LV), so the governor steps in and recommends a clear and easy to understand philosophy – Cut the budget by an amount equal to the employee increases for 2010/11. In essence, “what part of ‘take a freeze’ didn’t you understand?”

    This would, In effect, impose the equivalent of a pay freeze on the district, and return to taxpayers at least 2.5 – 3% of any proposed increase, and coupled with a 1.5% contribution to HC, should eliminate all but the most egregious of proposed tax levy increases. I also gives the district another opportunity to bring the NJEA back to the table for discussions about how they can help the district work its way through a rough patch financially. If they say “No”, again, well, a few more of their colleagues may be looking for other employment. Hope they give the people being laid off a kiss when they’re done screwing them.

    Not sure why Nedd is complaining other than the fact that if his BC follows Christie’s lead they could bring LV school property tax increases down to $0, thus fulfilling a good portion of Christie’s promise to taxpayers (which you would think is a good thing, unless you wanted to keep pretending that the governor was an “idiot”).

    Given that Nedd was calling for a $2M reduction in LV, and this would be in that ballpark, he should be doing cartwheels. As he notes, the BC can only identify where they would cut and how much, but the BOE can allocate the cuts however they want.

    As noted above – simple, brilliant and effective.

  5. Ted says:

    District needs must be compared to the financial request. The difference should be returned to taxpayers. It’s a painstaking process that needs to be done.

  6. Kevin Nedd says:

    P,

    A few points:

    1. Christie didn’t promise to hold tax property taxes to 0%. He promised to “LOWER” them.

    2. The problem with Chrisite’s “brilliant” strategy is that is does not conform to the spirit of the law. Governing bodies are supposed to make recommendations that have a reasonable expectation of being implemented as proposed. If the TC wants to lower the line item for “Regular Instruction” (e.g., teachers payroll) by 4.5%, then by all means do so. But call it what is it is by having some guts and telling the public how many layoffs it will lead to if local union, which is still under contract, holds the line on their 2010-2011 salary increases which were negotiated in good faith.

    3. If a town has teachers that are currently not under contract for next year, then this is a no brainer. Cut the budget by what salary increases would have been and don’t give it to them.

  7. P says:

    1. If Corzine had left some of the stimulus money Christie could have lowered your taxes. As it is, if they get close to zed in this environment, you should be offering to run his campaign in LV in ’13.

    2. What is the “spirit” of the law? Is that like a living constitution?? Right now there’s nothing that could be more normal than expecting employees in the public sector to take a freeze.

    3. Even in towns where they don’t have a contract, the salary increase (or not) will have to be negotiated, so it is slightly more than a no brainer.

    Ted – Could you elaborate. I can’t understand what you are recommending.

  8. P,

    1. Christie didn’t promise a 0% increase. Like Howard Popper, he promised “LOWER” property taxes.

    2. Honor the contracts that are in place and seek better terms for the ones up for renewal. Why have a contract if you intend to break it when times get tough. Using your logic, I suppose if the economy were clicking along at 6% growth and the teachers were asking for a 6% raise this year instead of a their contracted 4.5%, you would want to give it to them right? Can’t have it both ways.

    I realize you didn’t serve in the military, so honor (which is a part of both 1 & 2 above) is something you probably are not familiar with.

  9. P says:

    I guess it’s honorable to refuse to take a salary freeze for one year and watch some of your colleagues get the ax? Or it’s honorable to refuse to accept a salary freeze and watch programs for the students get cut? Just like it’s honorable to revert to the same old tired argument that you “served” so that, and that alone, makes you honorable, and those who didn’t “serve” dishonorable. Wrong on all three counts. And still sad on #3.

  10. P,

    Wrong. It’s “honorable” to honor a contract negotiated in good faith. If a union wants to accept a salary freeze to prevent potential layoffs, it’s their decision, not the Governor’s. He is charged with upholding the law, not asking others to break it.

    By the way…it’s your attitude that makes you dishonorable, not the fact you haven’t served. Although had you served, you would have a greater sense of honor.

    Having served my county, I have earned my honor. When I die, a brave young military enlisted man, representing an “honor guard”, will present my surviving kin with an American flag and state how the president thanks them for my service. What will be said when you pass on? Nothing much I suppose.

  11. P says:

    Nedd – Your posts are getting very personal. I must have struck a nerve. Although I am touched that you are afraid that I might pass on having led an empty life with no one to “honor” me. ;(

    But now, back to the issue at hand – Freeze, baby, freeze!

  12. P,

    No nerve struct. Just calling it like I see it. Honor is earned, not something you pin on the lapel of your sports jacket.

  13. P,

    Actually more like this guy:

    http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/a9N2JrXMYyZ/Salute+FOX+News+Channel+Brit+Hume/vGHuPHtFrJN/Dick+Cheney

    Because unlike Dick, Obama doesn’t have 5 draft deferments on his record.

  14. P says:

    Is this how a person of “honor” acts?

    See Nedd comments re:Deviant behavior @8:07p – “I need to scan a police incident report where the offender is an adult offspring of a local GOP operative. He was recently arrested at the scene of an accident for DUI/DWI with a BAC count of 0.17 or two times over the limit. This is the second arrest within this family in about a year. Maybe we should increase the police budget to handle the family’s deviant behavior?”

    http://www.dailyrecord.com/comments/article/20100426/OPINION02/100423082/Washington-Twp-Just-close-one-of-the-schools

    Long Valley seems to be such a petty little town, and you seem to be one of its more pathetic citizens, feeding off the misfortunes of others. The US Coast Guard Academy must be so proud.

  15. P says:

    Obama was never subjected to the draft, otherwise, he might be a Canadian citizen today. 😉

  16. Kevin Nedd says:

    P,

    The Academy would be proud as I am holding those who break the law in my township to the same high standard they hold for cadets. It’s not like this didn’t happen. I just plan to make sure the public is aware of what is happening in my town. If the local papers won’t cover it, I will!

  17. Kevin Nedd says:

    P,

    What the President “might be” is all in your head. What is fact is how Cheney received no less than five draft deferments, some for simply making babies.

  18. P says:

    Nedd – Develop a sense of humor.

    P.S. Things must not be going to well for the Prez because you keep regurgitating the past. Bush is gone and Cheney is harmless. Time to just “Move On.”

  19. P,

    Quite the contrary. Things are going well for the President. He has accomplished a lot in his first 18 months with more to come.

  20. P says:

    Talk to me after November 2nd.

    P.S. The plural of Jones is Joneses, not Jones’

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